At its August meeting in 1983, the MAA Board of Governors voted to establish a Certificate for Meritorious Service to be presented at the National level or for service to a Section of the Association. The first such awards were presented at the August 1984 meeting.
The process of awarding the Certificate for Meritorious Service occurs essentially at the Section level. Each Section is entitled and encouraged to nominate one person for the award every five years. For this purpose, the Sections of the Association are separated into five groups, with one group of Sections making their nominations to the Board each year on a rotating basis. Previous winners of the Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics are not eligible for the Certificate. The Certificate may be issued posthumously.
In each Section, a committee of at least three members should be appointed to select a single candidate for the award. The committee's choice should then be communicated to the Section Governor, who will present the name of this nominee to the Board of Governors at the appropriate meeting. The nominating committee should provide to the Section Governor a brief summary indicating the reasons for the selection of the nominee. In presenting the nominee to the Board of Governors, the Section Governor should include the citation summarizing the MAA service contributions of the nominee.